Sunday, May 19, 2013

#PitchMAS Success Story #2 - Nikki Urang

This is our second success story, taken straight from Nikki Urang's blog. (With her permission, of course!) 
Congratulations again, Nikki! 
And woohoooooooooo, we're all agency sisters!! 

Guys. I have crazy news. I have an agent!

For those of you who are just going to scroll through the post to find who I signed with, I give you the news now.
I am represented by the fabulous Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency!
For those curious about how I signed with my agent, keep reading.
I have two contests to thank for landing me my agent: Pitch Wars and PitchMAS. I know first hand that contests can be frustrating, bring out all your insecurities about your work, and make very sane people slightly neurotic. They can also be incredibly exciting and rewarding.
I was querying my manuscript, BROKEN, when news of Pitch Wars broke. I was so strung out on contests by this point, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself through another one. And I certainly didn’t want to enter with BROKEN, the manuscript that had run its course in contests already. It didn’t help that one of my top mentor picks had already beta’d BROKEN for me. Granted, it had changed based off her earlier suggestions, but I knew my chances of getting picked would be slim.
Then it occurred to me that I had another shiny new manuscript that had never been in a contest and I had never queried. A contest would be a perfect way to gauge interest in my concept and the overall potential of the story before I started sending off queries. I set to work writing a query, completing edits, and polishing those first five pages. On the first day of submissions, I sent it off to my top three mentors.
More waiting. This waiting was excruciating because I stalked the Twitter feed and followed along with all the vague tweets from mentors. This was how I heard of another contest, PitchMAS, and while I had no intentions of entering because Pitch Wars fried my brain, I checked out the blog posts for entry requirements out of curiosity.
By the time PitchMAS rolled around, I was pretty sure there was no way I would get picked for Pitch Wars. I couldn’t stand to look at Twitter anymore as the mentors made their picks. I didn’t want to enter anymore contests because I didn’t think I could take it. I still had requests and queries out with BROKEN. I would just wait and see where those went and maybe query THE HIT LIST a few months later when I’d recovered from Pitch Wars. And then my friend and wise beyond her years CP, Kate, told me this: If you don’t enter PitchMAS, you won’t get any requests. If you do enter PitchMAS, the worst that can happen is you don’t get any requests. But you’ll probably get requests.
Who am I to argue with that logic?
Two hours before the contest opened to submissions, I wrote my pitch. I submitted my entry the second the contest window opened and I went to bed, knowing agents could start requesting the next morning and that I would be at work, unable to stalk. I was on pins and needles all the next day while my CPs texted me updates. When I got home from work, I saw the aftermath. I didn’t get one request. I got six.
Nicole was one of the agents who requested my partial from PitchMAS. Within a week, she had upgraded to a full and was then emailing me to ask if I would be interested in doing some edits. A freaking R&R. I was ecstatic. So was my CP, Lizzy, who happened to be at the coffee shop with me when I got the email. We both screamed. People looked at us like we were crazy. It was great.
I was already deep into edits when the Pitch Wars mentees were announced a week or so later. I was picked as an alternate by two amazing mentors: Dahlia Adler and Monica B.W. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Dahlia offered to beta THE HIT LIST and I gladly accepted. With my CP’s and Dahlia’s feedback, I finally finished my R&R and sent it off. In the meantime, my Pitch Wars entry went up on one of the alternate blogs and I got a request. I did the Pitch Wars Twitter Pitch and got a couple more requests. I sent out a handful of queries to get THE HIT LIST out into the world and landed a few requests there too.
A month of no news passed before an email landed in my inbox that ended in a small press offer.
I couldn’t believe it. Someone wanted to buy my book. It was an amazing feeling. I nudged all the agents who had requests. In the end, I accepted representation from Nicole and I couldn’t be happier.
None of this would have happened without my awesome writer friends and this amazing community. But a few deserve some extra thanks for helping me out along the way. Without KateLizzyDeliaAmanda, and Brandi, my writing wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is. Kate and Lizzy: you’ve both kept me sane through this entire process and I love you both for it. Without contests, I might not have found the perfect agent for me. I owe a lot to Brenda Drake for organizing Pitch Wars (and countless other contests I’ve met writers through or learned from) and to Jessa Russo and Tamara Mataya for organizing PitchMAS and connecting me with Nicole. And to my awesome mentor Dahlia for picking me out of the slush pile and making THE HIT LIST better in the process. I’ve come a long way in the last year and I couldn’t be more excited to see where the next year takes me.
And for those of you who love stats, I’ve included mine below for THE HIT LIST.
Queries sent: 12
Partials: 6 (6 from contests)
Fulls: 6 (4 from contests)
R&Rs: 1
Thank you to everyone who has helped me on this journey. I hope you stick around to see what comes next. I love you all!